Our eating habits change drastically with the seasons, as all the supermarket buying departments are well aware. In the height of the summer when the weather is at its hottest, ice cream, salads and barbecue items are the top sellers.
As the weather starts to get cooler, we ditch the summer food for more comforting foods such as soups, stews and pies. But how do you keep the desire for comfort food under control and stay healthy at the same time?
Below is a list of some of the best foods you can eat over winter for health and weight loss and remember to eat as many veggies as you can!
When thinking of comfort food, things like pasta and rice spring immediately to mind and these starchy foods provide an excellent base for a comforting yet nutritious meal. Always opt for healthier wholegrain or wholemeal versions of pasta and use brown rice as these foods are higher in fibre content and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Pasta bakes and risottos are popular with all of the family and there are a huge number of different ingredients which can be used. Click here to see our section on the best carbs to choose
Potatoes are the ideal winter food but peeled white potatoes are not the best choice. Always serve potatoes in their skins for maximum nutrition benefit and use sweet potatoes for mash or wedges as they are higher in vitamins and minerals than white potatoes.
There is nothing more warming than a hearty bowl of soup, and it is also cheap and quick to prepare. Soup is also a great way of “hiding” vegetables which children may be reluctant to eat. Bulk out a soup with high fibre lentils or pasta, and use a variety of vegetables and herbs to maximise both flavour and nutritional value. See here for our winter warmer plan which has lots of soup recipes in
Vitamin D is essential to keep our bodies healthy, and the best source of this is from the sun. During the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, there is not as much of an opportunity to get out into the sun. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines or fresh tuna is the next best source of vitamin D. It is also packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, which help to prevent against cardio vascular disease. See here for why fish oils are so good for you
Although not the food which immediately springs to mind when thinking about nutritious winter food, chocolate, in small doses, can both satisfy our needs for something sweet and comforting, and also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Choose a chocolate which is high in cocoa solids and this will provide high levels of antioxidants and compounds which will lower blood pressure.
Oats are one of the best “superfoods” out there. Oats are high in complex carbohydrates, meaning that they are digested by the body very slowly, and will stop you feeling hungry. Oats are versatile and can be baked into cookies or muffins to put into a child’s packed lunch, and are ideal as a breakfast food when made into a tasty and warming bowl of porridge and are also great for adding into smoothies.
The Omega 3 acids which are found in eggs are thought to help boost our mood and eggs are also packed with amino acids and vitamins. The beauty of the humble egg is the number of different ways in which it can be prepared, and for the children, there is no better lunch than a boiled egg and soldiers.
Nuts are often discounted by people trying to follow a healthy diet as they can be high in fat. The fat contained in nuts however is unsaturated fat and in small portions, helps to lower cholesterol in the body. Nuts are high in minerals and minerals and makes the ideal snack to boost energy levels through a long winter’s afternoon. Click here for the best nuts for health and weight loss
Fruit shouldn’t be forgotten just because summer has gone, and nowadays we are lucky enough to be able to get fresh fruit and vegetables year round. Oranges are one of the best sources of Vitamin C, and can form the base of a dessert or make a quick snack for a child to take to school.
We can all appreciate the benefits of staying well hydrated when the weather is hot and we start to feel thirsty, but it is equally important to drink plenty of water when the weather turns cooler. 60% of our bodies are water, and to keep them working as well as possible everyone should aim for at least 2 litres of water per day.
Please also see our 28 Day Diet & Exercise plan for daily recipes packed full of these foods